riverdale season 6 episode 8

‘Riverdale’ season 6, episode 8 review: Every hero needs a villain

Riverdale’s new superheroes finally met their supervillain in Riverdale season 6, episode 8.

From petulant man-child Hiram Lodge to a powerful villain with supernatural persuasion abilities, Riverdale’s villain game just got a huge upgrade. The only question now is, are our heroes up for the challenge?

You didn’t have to look too closely to realize that Percival Pickens was bad news. His charming accent was a little too reminiscent of one Mr. Cypher who visited Rivervale, and honestly, we’ve been taught to question anyone new who comes into this show. That being said, we definitely didn’t predict how big of a problem this guy would actually become.

Pickens came out swinging in Riverdale season 6, episode 8, finally showing us at least a shade of his true colors. First he wrote a divisive and wildly dramatic article about how Riverdale is the “worst town in America,” then he boldly proclaimed that the town should simply remove all of its residents without housing, and then he started coming for people’s lives using his super scary “power of persuasion!”

Related: Riverdale season 6, episode 7 review: Someone needs to get Bingo a treat

This power is something that the super squad needs to get under control fast, or Pickens is going to have the entire town in his pocket. I really don’t want to watch an entire season of everyone turning on each other simply because he told them to, so I’m going to need Archie, Betty, and Jughead to assemble ASAP to figure this out.

Most of Riverdale season 6, episode 8 concerned the citizens trying to determine other ways of saving their town (again?) without exiling a subset of the population. And “thus began the battle for Riverdale’s soul.”

The first idea was Veronica’s. She proposed that instead of running their “usual side hustles and scams,” the Babylonium should partner with the town to help drive a thriving tourism economy for everyone. Alice was super against it, which somewhat mirrored the relationship between these two women in the Mr. Cypher episode. That makes me wonder if those thoughts were really Alice’s or if Percival got to her even sooner than we thought.

Alice aside, I really hate how Riverdale is suddenly making it seem like Veronica has always been just like her father, when that has never been the case. Veronica has fought countless times for Riverdale and its citizens, and she has generally tried and succeeded to stay on the good side.

She’s always had a complicated relationship with her father, but not one that has caused her to stoop to his level. Sure, she cooked some books at La Bonne Nuit, and she may have stretched some truths to win investors, but that was only to thwart Hiram’s constant attempts to ruin her. It seems completely out of character for Veronica to not even bother with permits for her business! Who is this woman they’re calling Veronica Lodge?

I also don’t like how separate Veronica seems to be from her friends and the rest of the town. They’re really casting her into the shadow of her parents, which simply isn’t fair after everything they’ve all been through. Unfortunately, if Riverdale continues on its current trajectory, it seems like Veronica will just be continuing on an even darker path. I just hope she’s able to come back to her friends at the end of all this, especially since the show isn’t even giving us a worthwhile storyline between her and Reggie.

Cheryl was also separated from the main action in Riverdale season 6, episode 8, but at least her storyline shows some promise. Britta went into the mind of the beast to try to free Cheryl from Abigail’s mental prison, and thankfully, she made some real progress!

It was so fun to see the Blossoms together again, even if it was a terrifying version of them. It was heartbreaking to see Cheryl crumble under her mother’s thumb, but I loved seeing her take control back, and I can’t wait to see how she eventually breaks out. However, I hope she doesn’t do so too quickly, since I’m also excited to see if Abigail makes any strides with Toni, and to discover how Cheryl reacts if she does.

Archie’s plan to save Riverdale was much more warmly received than Veronica’s, other than the fact that it may cost the tax payers some money to save a few lives. Luckily, badass business owners Tabitha Tate and Toni Topaz were willing to step up to get the ball rolling on Archie’s microhomes. Fred would be so proud!

It was nice to see Archie in such a benevolent role again, and I’m glad he’s persevering despite the obstacles and not letting his higher than average testosterone levels get in the way of his cooler head. I also like that he’s working with Jughead on this project, and I’m very excited to see what the dynamic is like between Jughead, Archie, and Betty if they end up banding together to take down Percival.

Speaking of Betty, not only did she lose the TBK, but her headaches have evolved into a full on aversion to light. Given this new development, I’m definitely not ruling out the possibility that she has become a vampire. It’s Riverdale. Literally anything can happen.

Betty’s aura-sensing abilities are useful for her job, but I’m not seeing how they’re going to be as beneficial as Archie and Jughead’s powers against Pickens. Potentially, she’ll be able to tell if someone has been “persuaded” by Pickens to come after them, but that still seems less useful than Jughead being able to read their thoughts.

I am terrified for Jughead now that Pickens knows about his ability, and also for everyone unlucky enough to find themselves on his creepy bulletin board. That said, I’m thrilled that the show finally has some fresh blood in the villain mix and I can’t wait to see how the Riverdale characters deal with him!